THE Quakers have lost their appeal to the Football Association (FA) over its decision to place the club in the Northern League.
The ruling means the club will be prevented from playing in national FA competitions next season and must now change its name.
The club’s new owners, Darlington FC 1883, had hoped football bosses would allow the Quakers to play in either the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier or Division One next season.
Loading article content
But by rejecting the appeal, the FA is ratifying its decision to treat Darlington FC as a new club.
Laura Drew, from DFC 1883, said board members were "bitterly disappointed by the decision".
She added: "We feel we had a strong case and to be honest I am gob-smacked that the appeal was unsuccessful. The appeal panel upheld the original decision and will not recognise the football club as a continuation of the football club that completed last season.
"This is a position that we heavily dispute but we have to accept where we are and fight back from here. I am Darlington fan first and foremost and this hurts badly, but I know there is a future and we need to focus on that now." Denis Pinnegar, DFC 1883 chairman, said: "This is not the outcome that either the fans or the interim board wanted, but at least we now know where we are and what needs done to get this club back to where it belongs.
"I know there is nothing else that could have been done in order to get the result of the appeal changed, the FA have decided that we are to be viewed as new club and as much as we can challenge that and argue the case we have to now accept that.
"There has been a lot of uncertainty around this club in recent times, and the fans deserve better. Its our job now to work with the fans, get the fans to back the club and get the club back playing in Darlington and at the highest level we can, as soon as we can."
Craig McKenna, project director, stated: "It is the fans that I feel for, they deserve better than this and they have been let down by Mr Singh.
"It is the fans club now and if that is the only positive thing to come out of this then it is a positive thing well worth having."
Martin Gray, team manager said "When I took this role I knew the club had been placed at level5 and as disappointing as this the appeal outcome is, it doesn't change the fact that we have a job to do and we will do it."
Although DFC 1883 said before the hearing that it was unable to discuss the grounds for the appeal in detail, project manager Craig McKenna confirmed there had been input from the police.
It is believed they are concerned that some Northern League grounds could have difficulty coping with the potential volume of Darlington fans next season.
It is understood DFC 1883 is also arguing that it has done all it can to ensure the club’s former players have been paid the money they were owed.